Dec 1, 2009
CNN Money is reporting that Cyber Monday sales were up 14% from last year, which is a good sign for the economy—though how good is unclear the moment. With total Black Friday and Saturday sales up .9%, according to ShopperTrek (via the Chicago Tribune), the 14% jump in online purchases certainly shows that sales are high enough not to cause too much of a panic, in the industry as a whole. The question is how much of the online shopping has permanently replaced in-store shopping. Were Black Friday sales up .5% because the economy was bad, or because people preferred to shop online? This is one of those cases where we’ll know more next year. If in-store shopping returns to a healthier rate of growth (at least 3%, and that’s modest) and online shopping continues to grow at around 14%, it’s a sign that the main factor was the economy. But if online shopping grows by less than 14% (within a few points) next year, we can be sure that people used Cyber Monday to replace Black Friday, not supplement it.
Make no mistake, though—this is good news.